God's Truth In Love

Church Shooting

In Agape Love, Anger, Anxiety, Apostasy, Bible, Bible Study, Biblical Principles, Chrisitan Lifestyle, Christian, Christian Living, Christianity, Confusion, Courage, Encouragement, End Times, Evil, Exhortation, Forgiveness, God, God's Voice, Godliness, Godly Counsel, Grief, Hate, Hatred, Holy Spirit, Humanism, Jesus, Mental Disorder, Mental Illness, Peace, Persecution, Prayer, Prophecy, Psychiatric Drugs, Religious Freedom, Remnant, Renewal, Revival, Rhema Words, Spiritual Activism, Spiritual Activists, Spiritual Fruit, Spiritual Remnant, Suffering, Truth, Uncategorized, Wisdom on November 8, 2017 at 6:43 pm

This will be one of the longest pieces I have written for posting in a couple of years but if you will stick with it and read the whole thing you just may find it was well worth your time. Please feel free to send me any of your own thoughts or questions, locate and click on the comment link below. I will address them in follow up posts. This post and/or related posts will be the only post[s] I will be making available for the next few weeks, as I believe this topic needs to stay front and center for a season.

Since Sunday afternoon I have prayerfully contemplated how to address this matter, when to post this piece, and the content of this posting. Ignoring what happened in that congregation, to those members of the Body of Christ on Sunday morning during their time of worship was not an option but providing an answer to the “Why?” questions regarding why it happened was also not an option. Therefore, what to do, I asked God and myself. My answer, not to attempt to provide any answers or spiritual platitudes that hurt more than they help but instead to simple reflect on several insights provided throughout the week that should be reflected upon and considered in light of the tragic events of Sunday, November 5th, 2017 in Sutherland Springs, Texas at the First Baptist Church.

Compassion, a word, or a choice.

It is my desire through this posting to allow God to use me to express some thoughts for reflection that might actually help us, us being the Body of Christ, really help us in due course and overall instead of just soothing us and placating us. The safest and simplest way to approach this topic would be to demonize the man who killed all of these people and move on. However, to handle the situation with that type of approach would be very spiritually short sided for a godly Christian spiritual leader. As Christians we like to say that we have compassion but how many of God’s people can find compassion for this man, this gunman, that killed their brothers and sisters in Christ? Compassion for what he must have been going through to turn to such a horrible and evil act. We, the Body of Christ, should have compassion for both, the victims, and the perpetrator.

The persecution of the American Church, the Body of Christ in America.

For far too long the Body of Christ has buried their heads in the sand when it came to persecution in America. The persecution, again, in America, does take another form now, then it did during the early church’s history, and a different form than it does in other countries. In America Christians have become targets of lawsuits for living out their beliefs. They have become targets for those who wish to use the legal system to try and silence Christians from expressing their beliefs in a public forum. Christians have become people targeted by a psychologized society that believes psychology has all the answers and that there is no place for God in the equation, a society that refused to accept absolutes or the individual who has firm beliefs and refuses to back down or be quite about them. Christian who still believe that talking about Jesus in their everyday lives at work, in businesses, and other public forums is a normal way to function and their God given, as well as constitutional right, are considered extremist that people avoid. And in the most extreme form of persecution we find our dear brothers and sisters of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, who suffered a persecution unto death by someone who was so hurt, damaged, angry, and/or evil that he chose to express it through killing – just as nine of our brothers and sisters were persecuted, being killed by a gunman in June of 2015 in South Carolina at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Body must face that they are being persecuted in various forms in America and band together to resist such persecution while at the same time showing compassion for the spiritual blindness that causes their persecutors to act as they do.

It was once said to me when I expressed concerns over the fact that a congregation only had one race and culture represented, ‘Don’t you think it is simply because we all tend to stick to our own?’ Well, for the record, no I do not think that is why you find congregations with only one race or culture represented. Yet, when persecution happens to the Church the barriers of race, culture, education, and economics are quickly dropped to band together for a greater cause, Us, The Body of Christ. I was in Charleston, South Carolina shortly after the killings that took place there and every race, class, education level, culture, and economic group of Christians were represented at that church in a powerful show of unity and spiritual support. In those tragic times we can find the time to leave our congregations and reach out to other congregations or members of The Body of Christ in general, however, this should be a regular practice at all times. There is no doubt that the Bible teaches us, and the history of the Christian Church teaches us, that God uses persecution to grow and/or change His Church and people.

The influence of evil.

I was interviewed a few years back for a book on a serial killer who had once tried to kill me along with about a dozen other people the early 1980’s. According to the author of the book I was the only person he could find to interview, most of the people were dead and a couple unlocatable. The interview was many hours long and during the course of this interview the author wanted to know how I could consistently express so much compassion for this serial killer knowing so much about his history and all the horrible things he had done, and how could I show no anger, bitterness, or resentment toward the man who had been the source of my physically body being damaged to the point that I still lived with the results causing difficulty and pain in daily life. These questions opened up the door to discuss the influence of evil. There was one profound thing that God over the years had helped me to understand, which helped me place the responsibility for evil acts where it lay – with Satan.

That truth was…

Evil causes psychological damage, and psychological damage opens the door to evil.

As long as the psychological community continues to disavow the spiritual side to mental and emotional problems we will continue to see people who never actually get better, change, or heal. As long as the Christian community continues to either, a) ignore the emotional and mental damage done through the wounding of people or b) allow themselves to become so psychologized they no longer make the spiritual connection to a wounded person’s emotional and mental problems, we will continue to see ourselves as a Body grow spiritually weaker and weaker as our biblical worldview becomes overshadowed or at least mixed with a secular worldview. We must find the balance that allows the Church and the mental health community to both realize that they have pieces of the puzzle that will help wounded people become whole again.

Church effectiveness and respect for Christianity within our society.

People do not respect the Christian community like they once did in America. This is our fault, the Body of Christ’s fault in general. There are so many reasons this has happened over the years there is no way to exhaustively address the reasons. However, just to address a few: 1 – We have become too much like the society in which we live. If you are no different than I am in your standards and practices why should I respect you. 2 – Our behavior whether it was intended to be or not “appeared” or “appears” hypocritical to people. We need more transparency that allows us to share our own struggles, yet still promote God’s Truths and His Standards for how we are to aspire to living our lives. 3 – The Body of Christ lacks backbone anymore. What might the zealous Peter and bold Paul say about the stands we take today for Truth or lack thereof, and the boldness we lack in expressing Truth as found in God’s Word.

We lack effectiveness in our society today as well. We lack effectiveness as Christians because we have either checked out of our society or we wish to avoid the ugly side of our society. We are barely able to allow ourselves the ability to remain in relationships long enough to allow ‘iron to sharpen iron’ much less invest ourselves relationally with those who might need our help. What happen to the need to show agape love for people, that love Jesus asked us to show, love that is displayed by our actions, our investment, and our involvement with people.

Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)

As iron sharpens iron,

So a man sharpens the countenance (character) of his friend.

John 15:13 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Luke 6:35 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) Jesus speaking

44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

In the early 2000’s two young boys barely in their teens living in the Pensacola, Florida area are convicted of killing their father and burning their family home down. Allegedly a result of years abuse and the influence of a child predator who also lived in the area. On the road leading up to their home, which was located in the 1,100 block, there were eight churches before the 1300 block and 4 churches within the 1070-1200 block. All of those churches in that community but how many of those congregations were “in that community” with their time, actions, involvement, and love – especially if some people in that community were tough to love.

Now back to this shooting at the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The sheriff, Tackitt, in an interview stated that the pastor of this church, Frank Pomeroy, had stated in the past that he did not want the gunman, who had previously been involved in the congregation, in his church and asked the sheriff, “How do I run him away from my church?” – yet this was not the pastor present on the day when the gunman killed 26 of his congregation members (25 men, women, girls, boys, and 1 unborn child) and injured 20 more. The gunman’s mother and father-in-law were members of the church, also not present on the day of the shooting. Dare I pose the question, but I must, how might things have been different had that pastor reached out with love, invested his time, and attempted to help this damaged young man instead of searching for ways to ‘run him away from “his” church?’ Yes, pastors must protect the flock but protecting them does not have to involves ridding yourselves of all those you deem undesirable, it should instead involves helping those you see who are wounded or damaged by life.

Religion acceptable, true godliness is not – a hate breeder.

People are watching what the Christian Churches are doing to each other and to their own people. It is not just the churched that are affected when things are not handled in a godly manner, those looking from the outside or sidelines are also affected. Far too many godly people who love Jesus have left many church congregations and many have been incredibility wounded by their brush with religion. Religion seems to be very acceptable in most of today’s churches, but true godliness or aspirations to that end is not welcome. Sadly, in far too many congregation it is not acceptable to believe that God’s Truths are still a valid standard for living today. We live in an age where the loveless, the compromising, the corrupt, the dead, and the lukewarm churches (Rev. 2-3) reign and truly devout congregations aspiring to God’s Principles and acting with Jesus’ agape love are rare. Religion in every capacity has taken over and controls the leadership thus by extension the people. They do not hunger or thirst for Jesus and to grow in Christ, they do not long for revival to sweep across our land, they are just about the business of church. My biggest challenge and greatest heartache is dealing with the types of Christians, Spiritual Leaders, and churches found in Revelation 2 and 3- the loveless, the compromising, the corrupt, the dead, and the lukewarm.

These types of congregations and individuals have hurt so many people who truly love or loved God, desire or desired to be all God wanted them to be, and yearn or yearned to see the Body of Christ be all Jesus means for it to be. The religious people and congregations have caused wounds great enough that individuals have pulled back from the poison of religion without godly spirituality. Let us never forget that our LORD, our Saviour, Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, was persecuted, maligned, and His crucifixion brought about through the Religious Leaders of His day! If devout people can be affected by a religious society this way, how much more would a wounded or damaged person be affected by this type of treatment from people who are supposed to be “the best people on earth” – Christians? I have heard it said that this man who was the gunman in this attack on this small church was an atheist, and very vocal about his atheistic views. Atheist do not go to church, seekers, the confused, the agnostic goes to church in search of something – if religion is all we have to offer them, then I fear their hate for us will grow.

Spiritual/Political Disclaimer:

This blog will not be for the faint of heart or the easily offended. It will not be in any way politically correct. It will make every effort to share the truth in love, [Ephesians 4:11-16], to a decaying and dying society and church. I share what I share not to hurt, harm, or offend any person[s] or group; I do it because Christ’s Standard and Truth is not being represented by enough of His Followers, and I do it out of love. I love enough to tell His Truth.

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV

11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

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